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Are Olympic sponsors trailing the rest of the world when it comes to Mena activations?

July 21, 2012 11:00 by

Such a multi-platform approach to spon­sorship activation does not come cheap, but in a cluttered environment it is sure to provide cut-through in the lead-up to and during the Games.

Return on Engagement generated by aligning Coke with Olympic values close to the hearts of consumers is expected to impact strongly on product preference, not to mention what are sure to be impres­sive sales from across the Olympic sites.

As Coca-Cola’s director of sports & entertainment marketing, Kevin Tressler, points out: “The Olympic Games are anoble, almost sacred event that creates opportunities for its partners extending far beyond the realm of profits and portfolios.”

Yet, from a local perspective, the brand seems curiously quiet.

P&G’s Proud Sponsor of Mums is an equally inventive approach towards con­sumer engagement. Like many of its fellow Olympic partners (see VISA, BT, British Airways to name a few) P&G has invested heavily in a team of athlete ambassadors, while applying its own distinctive parental twist on a familiar sports marketing model.

It has partnered with the UAE National Olympic Committee (UAENOC) to implement the ‘Thank You Mom’ campaign locally.

P&G is working with the UAE Athletic Federation to develop a number of young athletes who will gain additional support in the hope of qualifying for future Games – from some 10,000 UAE schoolchildren.

All of which is great, but why, in a region market that accounts for an ev­er-increasing share of global sponsor­ship spend, is there such as paucity of activity in general?

Many, of course, point to the lack of Olympic Champions who hail from the region (no GCC state features in the medal table of top 80 nations from Beijing 2008) as a reason for the apparent apathy to­wards the global sporting extravaganza.

Indeed a close-up look at the state of Olympic sport in the Middle East does not reveal a wealth of potential new heroes emerging this summer. Recent reports do, at least, suggest that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar may field female athletes at the Games for the first time however, a move that can only serve to raise interest. 

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